Maldives

From Halal Explorer

Maldives banner Small island shoreline with beach

The Maldives are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the Islands of the Indian Ocean. They lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of South Asia.

An Introduction to the regions of Maldives

The Maldives are formed of 26 atolls, or atholhu in Dhivehi — the source of the English word. These are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometers wide that have fragmented into countless islands.

Atoll naming is complex, as the atolls have both lengthy traditional Dhivehi names like Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, and snappy code names like Baa that refer to administrative regions and may consist of more than one geographical atoll. The code names are actually just the letters of Dhivehi alphabet, but being easier for non-Maldivians to remember and pronounce and the code names are popular in the travel industry and are hence also used here. Of the 20 administrative atoll groups, only (parts of) 10 are open to tourism, and from north to south these are:

  Lhaviyani (Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi)
  Baa (Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)
  Kaafu (North and South Male Atoll)
Site of the capital Male and the airport, home of most Maldivian resorts.
  Alifu (Ari)
To the west of Kaafu and the second most popular group.
  Seenu (Addu)
The southernmost atoll and the second-largest in population and site of Gan International Airport.

The other atolls are Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Noonu, Haa Dhaalu, Laamu, Njyavinani, Shaviyani and Thaa.

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Maldives

  • Male — the capital and largest city
  • Seenu — second-largest city and short-lived home of the Suvadive secessionist movement

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Maldives

  • Kuredu — one of the inhabited islands of Lhaviyani Atoll
  • Mathiveri — island belonging to Ari|North Ari Atoll
  • Rasdhoo — smallish inhabited island and the capital of the North Ari Atoll
  • Thoddoo — an isolated inhabited island that administratively belongs to Ari|North Ari Atoll. It's also the largest producer of watermelon in Maldives.
  • Ukulhas — smallish 1 kilometers long island of Alif Alif Atoll

Maldives Halal Explorer

History of Maldives

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Formerly a Sultanate under Dutch and British protection and the Maldives gained independence from the British in 1965, and became a republic in 1968.

Culture & Tradition of Maldives

Maldivians are almost entirely Sunni Muslim, and the local culture is a mixture of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences.

Bathala (Maldives) 6

How is the Climate in Maldives

The Maldives are tropical, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C (86°F) throughout the year. However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.

Travel as a Muslim to Maldives

Entry requirements

The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy: Everybody gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided that they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort or US$25/day in cash. This can be extended up to 90 days at Male, but you'll need to indicate where you're staying for that long.

Note: all luggage is X-rayed on arrival. Exporting sand, seashells or coral is also forbidden.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Maldives

Practically all visitors arrive at Malé International Airport (IATA Flight Code: MLE), located on Hulhulé Island right next to the capital Male. The airport is served by a wide array of Flights to China, India, Sri Lanka, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe. Many flights stop in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on the way.

Gan Airport (IATA Flight Code: GAN), on the southern atoll of Addu, also serves an international flight to Milan several times a week.

Departure taxes are included in your ticket.

British Airways now flies directly from London Gatwick to Male during the winter (October to March). No direct connecting flights operate from London Heathrow Airport, however it is feasible to get an indirect flight via India or the United Arab Emirates for example.

Singapore-Airlines flies daily direct from Singapore to Male, with late night timings.

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Maldives

There are no regular passenger boats to the Maldives. Even yachts usually steer clear, as navigating around the reefs is hazardous.

How to get around in Maldives

Ile de Kani - Atoll de Malé Nord

Getting around in the Maldives takes three forms: boats, sea planes (air taxis) and private yachts. The boats are the Maldivian equivalent of a car, while planes and private yachts are mainly reserved for tourists.

Seaplanes cannot and boats prefer not to operate at night, so if you arrive at the airport after dark and are going to a distant resort, you may have to spend the night in Male or at the airport hotel in Hulhule. Private transfers, though expensive can be opted for resort transfers, instead of spending the whole night at Male. Private transfers could cost US$500-800. On the way back and there may also be a significant gap between the time your transfer arrives and your flight departure. Check with your resort or travel agent.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Maldives

No point in the Maldives is more than 90 minutes away by plane from Male, and visitors to the more far-flung resorts use air taxi services. As of 2023 and the only operator is Trans Maldivian Airways, which flies DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 15 passengers. The company schedules most planes at 6PM the previous day. Delays are frequent, it is not rare to wait for 5 hours in the TMA lounge. Seaplane scheduled in the evening have a high risk of being canceled as delays add up and the sky becomes darker, in such cases TMA will make you take a combination of domestic flight and boat, potentially making you reach your destination well after dinner time.

Scheduled inter-island services are provided by Island Aviation, which flies from Male to Gan, Hanimaadhoo, Kaadeddhoo and Kaddhoo. Travel permits are no longer required.

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Maldives

The taxi boats generally take tourists to and from the islands in the North and South Male atolls. They come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the quality of the resort you stay, and the Four Seasons has a large enclosed motor cruiser with food, while the lesser resorts have open sided dhoni fishing boats.

Mosques in Maldives

The Maldives, an archipelago renowned for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts, is also rich in cultural and historical heritage. Among its most significant landmarks are its beautiful mosques, which serve not only as places of worship but also as architectural marvels that reflect the country's Islamic traditions and history. Here are some of the top mosques to visit in the Maldives:

Hukuru Miskiy (Old Friday Mosque)

Located in the capital city of Malé, Hukuru Miskiy, also known as the Old Friday Mosque, is the oldest mosque in the Maldives. Built in 1658 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar I, the mosque is constructed from coral stone, intricately carved with Quranic script and ornamental patterns. The mosque's interior features a beautifully carved wooden ceiling and elaborate lacquer work. The surrounding cemetery contains tombstones of important figures in Maldivian history, adding to the site's historical significance.

Grand Friday Mosque

Also situated in Malé, the Grand Friday Mosque is part of the Islamic Centre, a prominent landmark completed in 1984. It is the largest mosque in the Maldives, capable of accommodating over 5,000 worshippers. The mosque's striking golden dome and tall minaret dominate the skyline of Malé. Inside, visitors are greeted with a spacious prayer hall adorned with white marble and elegant chandeliers. The Islamic Centre also houses a library and a conference hall, making it a hub of Islamic education and culture.

Muliaage Mosque

Adjacent to the presidential palace, Muliaage, this mosque offers a blend of historical and political significance. Originally built in the early 20th century, the mosque showcases traditional Maldivian architecture with its coral stone walls and wooden roof. Though smaller than the Grand Friday Mosque, its serene ambiance and historical context make it a must-visit for those interested in the cultural heritage of the Maldives.

Kuda Miskiy (Small Mosque)

Located on the island of Hulhumeedhoo in Addu Atoll, Kuda Miskiy is another historic mosque worth visiting. Built in the 18th century, this mosque is notable for its unique coral stone construction and simple yet elegant design. The mosque's modest size belies its historical importance and the intricate craftsmanship evident in its structure.

Masjid Al-Taqwa

Masjid Al-Taqwa, situated in the island of Hithadhoo in Addu City, is one of the largest mosques outside the capital. This modern mosque features a sleek design with spacious prayer halls and facilities for community gatherings. The mosque's architecture blends traditional elements with contemporary design, making it a significant site for both worship and community activities.

Fenfushi Friday Mosque

On the island of Fenfushi in Alif Dhaal Atoll, the Fenfushi Friday Mosque is another example of exquisite coral stone architecture. Built in the 18th century, this mosque is renowned for its intricately carved stone walls and wooden interior. The mosque stands as a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of Maldivian artisans and provides insight into the country's rich Islamic heritage.

What to see in Maldives

Muliaage presidential residence of maldives

Most visitors come to enjoy the countless plush resorts, excellent beaches and stunningly colourful underwater life. Due to the isolated position of the island and the number of animals on land is limited, but just under the surface of the beautiful blue ocean there's a wealth of wildlife to see. Over 2000 species of fish in all colours of the rainbow roam the clear waters around the islands. You will likely see plenty of anemones, different kinds of rays, octopus, squid and even giant clams. Whales, dolphins and turtles are spotted often. The Baa Atoll, named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2011 and one of the richest coral reefs in the world, is becoming a main tourist draw while also becoming an example of sustainable tourism in a protected area. In short; snorkeling or diving is an absolute must, see the Do-section below for more information.

The gorgeous and ubiquitous white sand beaches are a sight by themselves, especially with the tropical island setting they are in. A flight to one of the many resort islands gives spectacular aerial views of these picture-perfect islets, defined by rims of white sand and wide strokes of cobalt blue water.

Yet, if you can pull yourself away from your luxury holiday spot and the capital Malé is a pleasant diversion. The bustling financial and political centre of the nation has a few sights. Try the National Museum for a touch of history. While the building may not look too promising and the museum's fine collection includes beautiful Arabic- and Thaana-engraved wood works, religious pieces, weaponry and other historic artefacts. The town also has a number of worthwhile masjids. The 17th century Old Friday Mosque is the oldest one in the nation, and officials are often willing to let polite and properly dressed visitors in. The Grand Friday Mosque & Islamic Centre is its 1984 modern counterpart, and dominates the city's skyline. While simple in design and the large, white marble structure and shining Gold dome is an attractive sight.

Top Muslim Travel Tips for Maldives

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Diving and snorkelling

Aside from making the water bungalow rock on your honeymoon and the primary activity on the Maldives is scuba diving. The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometers away from any major land mass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.

While diving is very good by world standards even in the immediate vicinity of Male, visibility and the chance of encountering large pelagic fish increases as you head to the outer atolls. Many divers opt for live-aboards, which can work out much cheaper than paying high resort fees. Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea. Water in the Maldives is warm throughout the year and a 3 mm shorty or Lycra diveskin is sufficient. Diving is feasible throughout the year, but rain, wind and waves are most common during the season of the southwest monsoon (June-August). The best time for scuba diving is from January to April, when the sea is calm and the sun is shining and the visibility can reach 30 meters. There are decompression chambers on Bandos in Kaafu (15min from Male), Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll and at Kuramathi on Alifu.

The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it's quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort, with specialist dive resorts offering better prices. In general, a single boat dive with your own gear cost around US$50, and US$75 without. Beware of extra charges: you may be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. On the upside, safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol (check dives, maximum depth, computer use, etc.) being the rule rather than the exception.

Surfing

The Maldives is becoming an increasingly popular surfing destination. Turquoise water and perfect waves makes it an ideal and un-crowded destination for surfers looking for smooth surfing conditions.

Picasso triggerfish2

The best period for surfing in the Maldives is between March and October; the biggest waves occurring in June, July and August. This paradise is exposed to the same swells as Indonesia is, except that its higher latitude and its South-East exposure offers cooler and less hardcore surfing. The recent O’Neil Deep Blue Contests held in the Maldives has placed Maldives firmly on the world’s surf map. While most of the recognized surf breaks are in Male’ Atoll and there is certainly more to be discovered.

Specialized companies organize tailored multi-day boat trips in the region, allowing surfers to move easily from one point to another and maximizing the surfing time.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Maldives

Money Matters & ATM's in Maldives

The local currency is the Maldivian rufiyaa, denoted by the symbol "Rf" or "MFR" (ISO code: MVR). It is divided into 100 laari. However by law, resorts price services in US dollars and require payment in hard currency (or credit card), so there's no need to change money if you're going to spend all your time at the resorts. Most hotels have a shop but this is limited to diving and holiday crucials (sun cream, sarongs, disposable cameras, etc.) Some excursions from resorts will take you to local islands where there are handicraft type things to buy, but they are typically made outside the Maldives and sold at significant markups.

If you are heading to Male or the other inhabited atolls, exchanging some rufiyaa will come in handy. The coins, in particular, are quite attractive and make an interesting souvenir in themselves, but the smaller denominations are rarely used or seen. The rufiyaa is tied to the U.S. dollar with in a 20% band, but is practically 15:1. US dollars are near-universally accepted: shops usually exchange them at 15:1 or 10:1.

Tipping

Tipping is not compulsory in the Maldives as a 10% service charge is added to everything, although it is not certain that the money is passed on to the staff.

Over the years the tipping culture has changed in the Maldives, mainly due to overseas visitors giving varying amounts of cash as tips.

Halal Restaurants in Maldives

All the resorts are self-contained so they have at least one restaurant, which generally serve the type of cuisine expected by their guests (i.e. modern European or generic Asian). Breakfast is almost always included, and most resorts offer the option of half-board, which means you get a Halal dinner buffet, and Halal full board, which means you get a lunch and dinner buffet.

The only other place to find Halal food is Male. This comes in two forms. Either small restaurants aimed at the tourists (of which there are a couple of nice Thai restaurants), which are often expensive, or small cafes called hotaa, selling local Maldivian Halal food at prices as low as Rf20 (US$6) for a complete meal.

Maldivian cuisine

Meal Maldives

Maldivian food revolves largely around fish (mas), in particular tuna (kandu mas), and draws heavily from the Sri Lankan and south Indian tradition, especially Kerala. Dishes are often hot, spicy and flavoured with coconut, but use very few vegetables. A traditional meal consists of Rice, a clear fish broth called garudhiya and side dishes of lime, chili and onions. Curries known as riha are also popular and the Rice is often supplemented with roshi, unleavened bread akin to Indian roti, and papadhu and the Maldivian version of crispy Indian poppadums. Some other common dishes include:

  • mas huni — shredded smoked fish with grated coconuts and onions and the most common Maldivian breakfast
  • fihunu mas — barbequed fish basted with chili
  • bambukeylu hiti — breadfruit curry

Snacks called hedhikaa, almost invariably fish-based and deep-fried, can be found in any Maldivian restaurant.

  • bajiya — pastry stuffed with fish, coconut and onions
  • gulha — pastry balls stuffed with smoked fish
  • keemia — deep-fried fish rolls
  • kulhi borkibaa — spicy fish cake
  • masroshimas huni wrapped in roshi bread and baked
  • theluli mas — fried fish with chili and garlic

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Maldives

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Maldives - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Maldives, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Maldives. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Maldives and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Maldives. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Maldives. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations in Maldives: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Maldives.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Maldives: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Maldives, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Maldives.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Maldives, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Maldives, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Maldives and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Maldives, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Maldives, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Maldives without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Maldives is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Maldives.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Maldives is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Maldives, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Maldives Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Maldives

Eriyadu_Island._View_from_the_south._Maldives

eHalal Group Maldives is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Maldives. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Maldives.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Maldives ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Maldives. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Maldives, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Maldives are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at realestate@halal.io

Muslim Friendly hotels in Maldives

The Maldives had a longstanding policy of keeping tourists on dedicated islands, which meant they could only stay in full-service resorts where the cost of a night's accommodation started around US$200 and went up into the stratosphere, and the vast majority of visitors continue to opt for these.

Resorts

Most resorts take up their own island (1500 x 1500m to 250 x 250m), meaning that the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world and it is hard to imagine that you would ever have to struggle to find your own private piece of beach to relax on.

The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. They can be grouped into three types:

  • Dive resorts, designed primarily for divers. Geared expressly for people who want to spend most of their time underwater, facilities on land are limited, but the house reef is usually excellent. Often found in the more far-flung parts of the archipelago.
  • Holiday resorts, designed primarily for families. These are large and have a full complement of facilities (several restaurants, day-care centres, etc.), but don't have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy. Most of these are located on Kaafu, with easy access from Male.
  • Luxury resorts, designed primarily for honeymooners and the jet set. The place to be if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa reachable only by rowboat, and are willing to pay high prices for the privilege.

Thulhagiri Bungalows Row

A Maldivian classic is the overwater bungalow, built on stilts directly above a lagoon. While these look fabulous and sound appealing and they have their downsides:

  • They're usually packed tightly together, often sharing a wall, meaning little privacy.
  • Especially at low tide and the water level may be too low to allow swimming or snorkelling.
  • Resort facilities may be a fair distance from the bungalows.
  • The lapping of waves is romantic enough on a calm day, but can make it next to imfeasible to sleep if a storm blows through.

These factors vary from resort to resort, so research carefully. A good one is definitely worth trying at least once, but many Maldives repeaters prefer a bungalow with a private beach.

When considering where to go, factor in transport time and costs from the airport: the more far-flung resorts generally require an expensive seaplane transfer and you may have to stay overnight at the airport on the way. On the upside and the further away you are from Malé and the more peaceful the islands and the better the diving.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Maldives

Malediven Rashdoo Kuramathi

There is very little crime in the tourist resorts with their patrons often not venturing wider afield. Generally, Maldivians are honest, helpful and welcoming people.

Telecommunications in Maldives

There are two mobile operators: Dhiraagu and Ooredoo. Both of them sell local prepaid SIM card with internet connection at competitive rates. The first mentioned of them is the leading local telecom company which has wider coverage while prices are about the same with its competitor. They both have shops right next to the airport arrivals area upon exiting. Also both offer 3G/4G data connections. Also if you plan to sail maybe you can be interested in satellite service offered by Ooredoo.

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